When we encounter setbacks on our path towards minimalism, it’s easy to lose motivation. Setbacks sap our energy, drain our enthusiasm, and can send us into a depressed state. How do we overcome that to regain our motivation and get back on the minimalist path? Here are some suggestions.
1) Take a Break
It’s ok to take a break from purging, decluttering, and downsizing. Enjoy some other activities. While I was experiencing minimalism setbacks, I spent a lot of time with my family. We were in the final weeks of summer break for my daughter and my wife and I put a lot of our energy into making sure she enjoyed the last of summer before returning to school. We let our daughter decide on activities and we made them happen. She wanted to play with some friends and cousins, so we arranged all the visits and sleep overs. We gave her plenty of time to play inside, swim, and play outside. We took several trips to the Science Center where they explored and played.
Aside from that, I spent some time vegging on the couch. I watched some TV, watched some movies on DVD, and watched a good share of shows and movies on Netflix.
2) Force It
If the break isn’t helping, or if it runs on for too long, then you may need to force yourself into action. That might mean picking a small spot to declutter (hoping that it snowballs into something larger). For me, it meant writing about it. This series on Minimalist Setbacks is my way of forcing myself into action. Once I started writing my frustrations, I was able to get a handle on them and regain some motivation. Even if you don’t have a blog, you could still write them down to create some beneficial action.
Forcing it, is doing anything you know you should do even though you don’t feel like it.
3) Analyze Your Setbacks and Resolve Them
You might find that you need to resolve some open issues before you can continue. Writing them down can help with this. After I started thinking about my setbacks, and writing them out for this series, I was able to see that some were cause by friction with others, and some were caused by internal friction.
In the case of friction with my wife, I considered my feelings on the matters. I love my wife very much, and these issues are trivial compared to that love. I feel bad for some of the grief I gave her over the china cabinet. I didn’t consider her dreams when I was trying to live my own. Sometimes those dreams conflict and we have to work through it to get to a point where they mesh.
You might find that setbacks are often emotional. I may be conflicts with those you love, or you might feel overwhelmed by the scope of some of your decluttering projects. If you resolve the emotional pain, it will be easier to get back on track.
4) Ask for Help
I’ve been feeling down over the recent setbacks, and my wife has chipped in. I had agreed to take care of the household chores while my wife pursued her masters degree. Between school and work, she doesn’t have a lot of time or energy to keep up the household stuff, so I agreed to take on those tasks. Even while she was writing six page papers for her two classes, she chipped in and took care of some of the cleanup. I didn’t really ask for help, but I did share my feelings. She understood those feelings and jumped in when she was needed without being asked. (I should have asked, I’m very lucky to have such a wonderful wife that knows when I need help.)
If you need help, ask. Pull in a spouse, child, sibling, or friend. Tell them how you are feeling and that you need some help to pull through. A little help can go a long way in getting you back on track.
Do you have any tips for getting past setbacks or getting motivated? Please share them in the comments section below.